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KNOXVILLE – Thirty high school students will arrive at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Saturday for a weeklong program that will allow them to explore the world of business and possible business careers.

This is the second year for “Business Education for Talented Students” (BETS), a program that targets students from communities that are underrepresented in individuals pursuing business careers. There is no cost to participate.

This year’s participants include 29 Tennessee students and one Alabama student. There are 22 young women and eight young men. All are rising seniors with GPAs of 3.0 or better who were nominated by counselors or community members.

The 29 Tennessee students represent nine cities statewide — Knoxville, Chattanooga, Rossville, Maynardville, Madison, Powell, Oakland, Clarksville and Memphis. The Alabama student is from Phenix City.

The students will attend presentations by UT faculty members and business experts to learn about the various business majors offered at UT’s College of Business Administration — accounting, finance, marketing, economics, human resource management, public administration, enterprise management, logistics and statistics.

The students also will attend presentations on topics such as dressing for success, funding a college education, personal finance, enhanced writing skills and marketing the Vols. They will engage in team-building activities, such as a ropes course, and take field trips to locations such as Ruby Tuesday’s corporate office, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam’s office, and Alcoa Energy and Metals Trading Floor. The week will conclude with the Marketplace competition, a team-based, business-simulation game that allows the students to “run” a company as business professionals.

“One of the reasons we host BETS is to introduce students to the opportunities available in our college and to let them become familiar with the university and student life,” said Tyvi Small, the college’s coordinator of diversity initiatives. “We know the program works — four of last year’s BETS participants will be UT freshmen this fall.”

Funding for the 2009 BETS program is provided by the PepsiCo Foundation as part of its $350,000 five-year grant to the college’s diversity efforts.

Story and photo opportunities during BETS:

Sunday, July 19

1 p.m. — Ropes course, New Horizons Center

Monday, July 20

1 p.m. — Visit Knoxville Mayor’s Office

Tuesday, July 21

1 p.m. — Visit Ruby Tuesday Corporate Office and Test Kitchen

Wednesday, July 22

9:30 a.m. — “Funding Your College Education,” 304 Haslam Business Building

11:30 a.m. — Visit Alcoa Energy and Metals Trading Floor, 900 Gay St.

Thursday, July 23

11:30 a.m. — Business etiquette luncheon, University Center Executive Dinning Room

Friday, July 24

1 p.m. — “Marketing the Vols,” Neyland Stadium East Club

Saturday, July 25

10:30 a.m. — Marketplace game presentations, 402 Haslam Business Building.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)